Because our family was directly affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor sixty-four years ago today, December 7 does not go unnoticed for those of us who are left. That’s when my late sister Donna’s fiancé, Edward "Bud" Heidt, was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona along with his twin Wesley. In actuality, the attack killed some 2400 U.S. personnel. The link above shows the brothers who were killed on the U.S.S. Arizona alone.
Last year I wrote about Pearl Harbor at Sacred Ordinary and what it meant to our family personally. Just as I personally awake sad on November 22, I also awake with a deep sadness every December 7. My sister was only 18-years-old when Bud Heidt died, but until her own death at age 78, she carried her own sorrow all those years. Her anger turned inward, a form of mourning, was to deeply affect the quality of her life.
While listening to NPR this morning, I was deeply touched by the story of 84-year-old Honolulu retiree and Pearl Harbor survivor
Ray Emory who wants to somehow identify the bodies that have remained unidentified all these years. You can listen to this story at the link above.
I’ve never visited Punchbowl National Cemetery, where most of the Pearl Harbor dead are buried—and I certainly was not aware that there are 600 unidentified Pearl Harbor casualties in this cemetery when I visited the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
"These guys got killed in battle for their country and they should be so recognized, period," says Emory. So, for the years he has left, Emory has a divine purpose: identify the dead.
On the front page of this morning’s Daily Breeze, I noted a story about a PlayStation 2 game called Heroes of the Pacific where the actual events of Pearl Harbor are blurred. It’s rated T for teens, but the writer says it’s B for bad history, according to survivors. Seems odd to take such a dark historical event and turn it into a game, but then I'm not a gamer.
And here we are with the Iraq war shaping up to be another Viet Nam. I rarely mention politics here because it opens up a can of comment worms, but last night a young woman opposed to the war in Iraq compellingly came to the door. She was asking for letters to be written to Congresswoman Jane Harman asking for a plan and real timeline for pulling out of Iraq. So far I’ve been putting my head in the sand wondering what my little voice of opposition can do in the big scheme of things, but after writing about Pearl Harbor today, I’m glad I took the time to sit down last night to write to my representative. I stand up for other things I believe strongly in and I do feel strongly that we have to have a bona fide plan for a pullout so there won’t be more heartbroken families of military personnel who will mourn their own war casualities for a lifetime.
But for today, please remember Pearl Harbor with me and others who still remember this infamous day.